LNG for the first time in in the Port of Brunsbüttel

Cement carrier "Ireland" has been bunkered with LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) in the Port of Brunsbüttel. The truck-to-ship bunkering operation was the first ship LNG bunkering of a bulk carrier on the river Elbe. It’s a further step in establishing Brunsbüttel as a LNG site.

After the successful filling of a LNG boiler wagon of the VTG in April, last year, the Elbe port was now able to prove itself as a suitable LNG bunkering site. The 110m long cement carrier “Ireland”, sailing under a Norwegian flag and owned by KGJ Cement, was bunkered on January 28th. The ship, built in 2016, is equipped with a so called Dual Fuel Motor, which enables it to run on both LNG and marine diesel.

The carrier, heading for Brunsbüttel from England, took the opportunity to refill its LNG supply in the Elbe port. A Berlin company, specializing in “natural gas to fuel”, has been assigned by the shipowners to provide the LNG and conduct the bunkering operation in cooperation with the GasCom Equipment GmbH. Approximately 19 tonnes of LNG have been delivered via tank truck and pumped directly in to the ship's tank in a so called truck-to-ship operation.

Frank Schnabel, the Managing Director at the Brunsbüttel Ports GmbH/ SCHRAMM group, said: “Good teamwork of all involved parties allowed for the preparation and execution of the LNG bunkering process to go smoothly and shows that LNG bunkering can be integrated in the regular port operations without any concerns. We are happy to be able to present the Elbe port of Brunsbüttel as a suitable LNG bunkering site, also for regular freight ships, and expect visible growth in demand for LNG bunkering in the coming years. We are prepared for that”.

The shipping industry sees LNG as a ship fuel of the future. It offers high emission reduction rates in comparison to conventional ship fuels and is therefore considered to be particularly environmentally friendly. For example the emission of Sulfur and harmful particles sinks by nearly 100% in comparison to HFO (Heavy Fuel Oil), emission of Nitrogen by nearly 70% and the emission of GHG (greenhouse gas) by 25%.

Brunsbüttel has been pushing for a LNG import terminal, planned to be much bigger than just a bunkering station for ship bunkering, for some years now and positions itself as a suitable LNG bunkering site. The supply of the shipping on the highly frequented intersection between the Elbe and the northern Baltic channel with LNG is one of the three pillars of the whole concept. In addition to that, the idea encompasses supplying the regional and transregional industry with LNG from Brunsbüttel and enabling local regasification of LNG, which could be then injected into the pipeline net. This would allow to tap into new natural gas sources worldwide and independent form the pipeline. LNG is natural gas cooled to approximately −162 °C and takes up about 1/600th the volume of natural gas in the gaseous state. This makes transport on ships and worldwide trade of natural gas possible.

Looking back at the past year, the port combine of the SCHRAMM group/ Brunsbüttel Ports GmbH registered another period of growth, which once again led to record turnover. The Brunsbüttel ports – the Elbe port, the oil port and the Ostermoor port – recorded a total turnover of nearly 12m tonnes. This corresponds to an overall light turnover growth in comparison to last year. The turnover volume in the Elbe port, the biggest of the three Brunsbüttel ports, was increased by ca. 2%, with a special focus in the break bulk field. The increase in break bulk turnover is reflected in the complexity of the turnover processes and thereby in their added value.

The turnover results in the whole port combine, which, besides the Brunsbüttel ports also encompasses the Ports of Rendsburg, Glückstadt and both of the logistics sites at the Aurubis AG and the power plant in Hamburg-Moorburg, have been increased by ca. 4%, corresponding to nearly 15m tonnes of cargo – also a record. Investments made last year, worth roughly 23m euros, covering turnover equipment and port facilities on all port sites, among them a newly inaugurated double jib level luffing crane worth 3m euros at one of the Hamburg logistics sites, underscore our growth process.

Schnabel explains: “The fundament of the positive development of the port group and the consecutive growth, which has been now observed for years are both made possible through the steady increase of the employee numbers, including the recruitment of our own trainees. Currently, there are 230 staffers working for our company. The goal is to generate more growth and expand through consequent implementation of the universal port strategy”. 

Source and more information: SCHRAMM group